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VIVISECTION. 



AN APPEAL TO THE WORKERS. 



By Moxa Caird. 
{Reprinted from the Labour Leadee). 

1AM very glad to have an opportunity in the columns of 
the Labour Leader to plead the cause of the most friendless 

and defenceless creatures alive — I mean the miserable victims 
of vivisection. I am too well aware that the cause is an 
unpopular one. Either the practice is openly defended, as 
justifiable and " scientific,'' or the subject is thrust aside as 
unpleasant or unimportant, and people go on their way ignoring, 
or deliberately supporting cruelties such as the Inquisition itself 
has nothing to surpass, or indeed to equal. I know, too, that 
people are ready to excuse the practice of slowly torturing 
animals to death, on the ground that it is our custom to kill them 
for food. I should like to know what the condemned criminal 
would say or feel if he were to be told on his day of execution 
that since his fellow-men thought it justifiable to take his life, 
because he had made insecure the lives of others, they saw no 
reason why they should not let the vivisectors come and cut him 
up alive in the interests of science and humanity. Would he fail 
to see a difference between death and torture ? 

Whatever may be said for or against inflicting a swift death 
on criminal men, or on innocent animals, it is mere evasion to 
pretend to place it on a level with torture. The very laws of 
warfare — itself a survival of savagery — recognise the difference. 
What would be said of our English troops if they were found 
making interesting physiological experiments upon their prisoners? 
Should we accept the excuse if they pleaded that since they were 
permitted to kill their enemies, they thought there could be no 
objection to their torturing them ? Yet this is the excuse that 
many people accept from the vivisector. 






Obviously we all recognise clearly enough, token it suits us, the 
gigantic difference between killing and torturing. Yet vivisectors, 
desiring to find an excuse for their ghastly work, persuade us — 
I daresay they persuade themselves — that there is no difference 
worth mentioning. Professor Huxley even goes so far as to urge 
that since urchins sometimes impale frogs on spikes for fun, it is 
very hard on the man of science if we object to his having the 
same satisfaction for his own particular object.* But the food 
argument is the favourite one with vivisectors. They know how 
ingrained are the flesh-eating instincts of men, and are well aware 
that if only they can hook on their chariot to the butcher's cart — 
to put the matter crudely — their beloved practice will be safe 
from interference for many a long year. Sport is another 
sanctuary for the ingenious vivisectionist. He runs there for 
shelter on the least alarm, and often manages to persuade the 
indolent public that really lie is the truly humane and benevolent 
person, while his opponents are ridiculous, inconsistent, and most 
ignorant agitators, bent on checking the advances of science, and 
on depriving humanity of the discoveries which these physiologists 
are busy making through their researches among the nerves of 
living animals. Meanwhile the published official reports show 
that these experiments, especially the very painful ones, are 
increasing in number, at an alarming rate, every year. Most 
people are overawed by the word science. It sounds sublime ; it 
sounds beneficent. So, indeed, it is, if people would recognise that 
science, like art or any other pursuit of man, must submit to 
limit its operations to those that can be performed by legitimate 
means. What should we say if an artist, because he rightly 
regarded his art as of great importance to humanity, considered, 
therefore, that it was justifiable to have a man crucified in order to 
enable him to paint a thoroughly good picture of the Crucifixion ? 
This is what is recorded of a painter at, (I think), Florence, in the 
middle ages, when art was worshipped as science is worshipped 
among us now. The ruler of the city ,one of the Medici, I believe, 
provided him with the necessary model, and had the wretched 
man crucified, while the painter eagerly watched and sketched 
every line of his anguished face. 

* Science and Education, Professor Huxley. 



Now this pursuit of an object, good in itself, be it remembered, 
entirely regardless of the rights or the suffering of others, is 
precisely the spirit which makes the vivisector demand of the 
nation sentient victims for his operations. In other words, a 
lawful end is pursued by unlawful means. I mean unlawful 
morally, not legally, for, alas, the law of England at this 
moment makes legal in the judicial sense that which is unlawful 
in the moral sense ; and not only this, it makes legal that which 
it has itself previously declared to be illegal, viz. : cruelty to 
animals. There exists an Act which punishes such cruelty when 
practised by the poor and ignorant ; there is another Act over- 
ruling the former one, and providing special licences for the same 
actions when performed, for special objects, by the influential and 
learned. 

At about the same epoch at which the Florentine painter 
was assisted by the ruling powers to obtain a model for his 
picture of the Crucifixion, the physiologist was also indulged in 
the same thoughtful manner. There is a poem on this subject by 
Lee Hamilton, which is full of significance to all who realise the 
sinister and perilous nature of this practice which is gaining 
ground so fast all over the world. In this poem, a poor young 
fellow, who has been enticed by a learned vivisector into his 
laboratory and there drugged, wakes up bewildered, to find himself 
bound hand and foot on a vivisecting table, while beside him a 
dog, that has just been tortured, lies moaning in his trough. The 
Professor stands over his victim coldly and judicially. He is on 
the eve of an important discovery, or so he believes. He longs to 
outdo his rival, Fallopius, who has been engaged in cutting up 
a dozen or so of prisoners delivered over to him by the Duke of 
Florence for the purpose of research. The captive, relieved to see 
a human being, calls for help. But the Professor says not a 
word. The dead silence of the underground place gives a sense 
of terror. Then the Professor goes quietly to fetch his instruments. 
The poor pinioned wretch thinks that he is to be put to the torture, 
according to the custom of those days, in order to make him 
confess something to the authorities, and he yells out that he will 
reveal everything, though, miserable creatine, he has nothing to 
reveal ! 



Then the Professor, who until then has been lost in thought, 

and as inattentive to his captive's appeals as to " the fitful 

moaning of the dog," suddenly exclaims, half to himself : — 
"Reveal? ay, that thou shalt. 
Thou shalt reveal inestimable truths 
Of which thou knowest nothing — 
Thou shalt confirm what these dumb dogs have told 
Beneath the scalpel ; thou shalt be the last 
And chiefest witness " 




" The last and chiefest witness." Who can miss the 
significance of those words ? Who can fail to recognise the 
irresistible nature of the temptation that such an opportunity 
must be to a man who had spent his life in such researches ? 
How, indeed, could he help desiring to find out whether the results 
of his experiments on animals were also true for the human being ? 
He would be a fool if he did not desire it, for nobody knows better 
than he that experiments on animals give no real information as 
to the constitution of men. And if he had taken it as settled that 
an important scientific object excuses the use of cruel means, 
would he not naturally argue that an important scientific object 
excuses the torture of an unimportant human being, whose anguish 
might, perhaps, be made to bring health to thousands ? If the 
vivisector be logical, that is the conclusion that he must come' to, 
and those who have supported him in animal vivisection have 
no business to object when he begins to carry his experiments a 
little unpleasantly near home. The man is logical. If the end 
justifies atrocious means, it does justify them, and there is an end 
of it : to decide exactly how atrocious, is idle and impossible, 



logically considered ; we cannot reasonably back out of the 
principle merely because the application does not happen to suit 
'us personally. 

Now there are vivisectional laboratories in the medical schools 
attached to nearly all the principal hospitals, and the operator must 
have often come straight from the torture-trough of some moaning 
brute to the bedside of his patient. "What is likely to be the result 
of such a combination of circumstances ? The recent exposures of 
wholesale vivisection of patients in the Chelsea Hospital for 
Women give us a fair idea of that result. It is now well known 
that human vivisection, of greater or less severity, has been 
going on in hospitals for years. The doctors speak of their 
patients as clinical material, and one doctor wrote a long letter, 
saying that such practice was necessary for the training and 
progress of the profession, and the public was invited to sub- 
scribe more liberally to the hospitals in order to compensate 
the patients for having to be used in that way ! * 

What else, indeed, are we to expect if we train a large body of 
clever and influential men to believe that their important scientific 
end justifies atrocious means ? They learn their lesson well and 
better the instruction. 

Dr. Hoggan, who has had intimate acquaintance with vivi- 
sectional laboratories, warns us against the erroneous and common 
belief of so many that when anaesthetics are stated to be given 
the animal suffers no pain from the experiment. He tells us that 
it is almost impossible to give an animal chloroform to deaden its 
feeling, without killing it. Although so well trained in adminis- 
tering chloroform at the hospital, he found it was not to be done. 
He also reminds us that an immense number of experiments could 
not be performed under an anaesthetic without entirely vitiating 
results, for instance, those on the nerves and on sensation, and he 
warns us also that narcotics which stupefy the creature but do 
not destroy feeling are constantly given, and accepted by the 
public as true anaesthetics. In short, the doctor considers anaes- 
thetics " the greatest curse to vivisectible animals," because they 
tend to soothe the feelings of the public rather than of the 



* Dr. De Watteville, in a letter to the Standard, Nov, 24th, 1883. 



animals, and to make them continue to support the atrocities of 
vivisection. — The Spectator, May 29th, 1875. 

"But then ," says the author of the pamphlet entitled 

"Five Questions to Working Men about Vivisection" (London : 
Anti- Vivisection Society, 32, Sackville Street, W.) "these 
vivisectors tell us that their practices are not cruel, that they are 
humane, tender-hearted Christian men, who would not be guilty 
of any act of cruelty. Well, is it cruel to take a number of dogs, 
to burn and scald them to death by pouring boiling hot water 
on different parts of their body, several times in succession, or by 
covering them with turpentine and setting fire to it ? * Vivi- 
sectors have done this. 

Is it cruel to cut open the stomach of a dog, to insert the ear 
of a live rabbit and fasten it there until it was eaten away by 
the gastric juice of the dog's stomach ? f Vivisectors have done 
this. Is it cruel to open the bellies of cats, cut away some of 
their intestines, slice off parts of their livers, and leave them to 
die after intense suffering lasting over twenty-three days ? \ Vivi- 
sectors have done this. Is it cruel to saw open the skull of a 
monkey, cut into some part of its brain, thrust red-hot wires 
into the opening, inject acids of various kinds into the cavities, 
and keep it alive in this state for weeks or months ? § Vivi- 
sectors have done this. This, aye ! and worse than this, if it 
is possible to conceive, and when forced from their own writings 
to admit the truth of these details they have defended them- 
selves by saying that animals do not feel pain as we do, 
that their struggles are mere automatic movements, and that 
an animal which under experiment screamed, turned its head 
round and bit and gnawed its own legs, lashed its tail, uttered 

* Royal Commission Report — Dr. Carpenter, Question 5616. 

t It was found on referring to Dr. Noe Walker's evidence before the Royal 
Commission, which has been consulted for purposes of verification, that 
he asserted that " the posterior half of a living frog was inserted into 
the aperture leading to the stomach of the dog," etc., instead of the 
" ear of a live rabbit." The author of the " Five Questions " has 
probably been quoting part of a different experiment of the same 
nature : the mistake is unessential, but I mention it in order that the 
quotations in this paper may be unimpeachably accurate in every 
detail, and that I may myself be able to vouch for their accuracy. 

% Roy. Com. Rep., Dr. Legg, pp. 372, 373, also 256, 257. 

§ Experiments by Dr. Ferrier, Roy. Com. Rep., p. 220, pp. 166-169 Reports 
of Wakefield Lunatic Asylum, Appendix to Roy. Com. Rep. 



long-continued cries, "felt no more real pain than a piano does 
when its keys are struck?"" These are the statements of 
English vivisectors. (The above experiments were all admitted 
by the vivisectors to have been performed by them, and are 
mentioned in the reports of the Eoyal Commission on Vivisection.) 
And now let us return for a moment to our Florentine youth 
in the hands of his learned tormentor. The youth has bitten the 
Professor's thumb, in his mad terror and fury. The Professor 
rejoices that it is the left thumb, and that the experiment need not 
be postponed. He gags the victim, and proceeds with his work, 
muttering : — 

" He bites, he bites, methinks he almost barked. 

Oh, who shall draw the line between this man — 

This human animal — who nothing knows 

Of what makes nian immortal, and this dog ? 

That he can shriek for mercy ? and the dog, 

Hath he not shrieked for mercy long and loud ? 

That he can call on an unhelpful God ? 

So doth the dog, perchance, if we but knew. 

That he hath got a soul ? I doubt it much : 

But granting for a moment that he hath, 

He's by so much the luckier thau the dog, 

Who suffers and relapses into nought." 

He pauses and regards the captive, reflecting on the situation. 

Who is to forbid this deed that he is doing ? 

" 'Tis God, perchance ? Then let him first restrain 
The dark destructive forces he has made, 

and put an end 
To Nature's countless crimes ; or is it Man, 
And Man alone ? He strews his battlefields 
Year after year with heaps of mangled dead, 
Without a why or wherefore. 

Shall he dare 
To grudge me what I need — a single life 
For Science, for the only thing I love 
On this wide earth ? And do I not deserve 
To be at last rewarded ? I, whose life 

Has been one boundless sacrifice ? 

And such a life as mine — 

Is it to be cheated of its sole reward 

To save the squeaks of such a thing as this ? 



Is not all Nature framed upon the plan 

Of strength devouring weakness ? Shall I be 

More kind than Nature ? He is in my hands : 



* Roy. Com. Sep., Dr. Crichton Browne, Qn. 4444. 



And if Mankind should ever learn this deed, 
Would it avenge it for the victim's sake, 
Or from its own intolerable fear 
Of a like fate ? Would it avenge the dog 
Who lies on yonder table ? O, Mankind, 
Thy charity is great ! And now to work." 

I repeat the Professor's cynical question, but not cynically : 
would Mankind avenge the dog who lies on yonder table ? Not 
would Mankind, but rvill Mankind arise, as it can arise, and say : 
In my name no defenceless creature shall be tortured ; no end 
shall be held to justify devilish means. Man is stronger and 
cleverer than the animals ; therefore, every law of honour, of 
justice, of chivalry, of manhood, places them under the protection 
of man. 

For these defenceless ones I plead. Sad, indeed, will be the 
day when the cause of the oppressed proves to be a hopeless 
cause on English soil. Only the people of England can right 
this awful wrong. They can express their wishes through their 
votes, through making this a political question and returning 
no member to Parliament who supports scientific torture. 

By no other means can we hope to put an end to the 
unspeakable suffering of dumb creatures, with all its ghastly and 
certain consequences. I remind my readers once more of their 
own imminent danger : of the peril that increases every year — 
as vivisection increases — for all who may have to venture inside a 
hospital; but I appeal, first and foremost, to their justice and 
their pity, and I cannot, dare not believe that I shall appeal 
altogether in vain. 




Miller, Son, d- Compy., Limited, Printers, Finsbury Circus Buildings, London, E.C. 



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